Carved Japanese Chapel is a Masterwork of Intricate Wooden Design

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Beautifully carved wooden elements have been common in architecture for millennia, including the antique Eastern White Pine columns, capitals, corbels and other millwork and decorative trim found in so many colonial homes. These flourishes are typically used sparingly, so seeing them take center stage in incredibly intricate interiors makes quite an impact. Check out this gorgeous wedding chapel, located at the Ana Crowne Plaza Hotel in Hiroshima, Japan.

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Nikken Space Design collaborated with a kimono designer to come up with the botanical patterns lining the walls and ceiling of the chapel, containing its rows of pews within a shell of lace-like wooden lattice. The complex design is supported by an arched framework measuring 20 feet high by 62 feet long.

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100 hand-carved wooden panels bear the patterns illustrated by the kimono designer, including leaves, flowers, butterflies and billowing clouds. When sun streams in through the floor-to-ceiling window connecting the pulpit to the garden outside, it projects the pattern onto the floor.

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“Hiroshima is often known for the ‘Genbaku Dome’ and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, and one of the most popular destinations for overseas tourists to Japan,” say the architects. “For this reason, in planning the chapel, we were highly conscious of the fact that we were not simply designing as a commercial facility but a showcase that would let the rest of the world know about Japan’s peaceful spirituality, history, traditional arts and crafts, and its refined workmanship.”

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We’d say that goal has been achieved! This chapel is unforgettable, and it’s easy to see why couples would be eager to book it as the setting for their wedding ceremonies. It would be great to see similar woodworking trends catching on in the States, marrying traditional craftsmanship and American motifs with contemporary architecture. (Hint: Eastern White Pine would be an ideal material for this!)

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